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A Short Stay in Hell Paperback – March 23, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Strange Violin Editions (March 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098374842X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983748427
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Profound and disturbing, A Short Stay In Hell is a perfect blend of science fiction, theology, and horror. A terrifying meditation on faith, human nature, and the relentless scope of eternity. It will haunt you, fittingly, for a very, very long time. ---- Dan Wells, author of I Am Not a Serial Killer

An irresistible invention. Peck has somehow squeezed all of human experience, not to mention near-infinite expanses of space and time, into one miraculously slim novella. You won t be able to stop thinking about this book. ---- Ken Jennings, author of Brainiac and Maphead

From the Inside Flap

Cover by graphic artist Matt Page

More About the Author

Steve Peck is an evolutionary ecologist who teaches History and Philosophy of Science and Bioethics. His publishing history includes lots of scientific work (40+ articles) including articles in American Naturalist, Newsweek, Evolution, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Biological Theory, Agriculture and Human Values, Biology & Philosophy, and an edited volume on environmental stewardship.

He is the author of 'The Scholar of Moab,' a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, published by Torrey House Press, and the author of 'A Short Stay in Hell, published by Strange Violins Editions. He has a juvenile fantasy called the Rift of Ryme, to be published in June 2012 by Cedar Fort Press.

This year he was nominated for the 2011 Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award for the poem, "The five known sutras of mechanical man," published in Tales of the Talisman.

He received first place in the Warp and Weave Science Fiction Competition and received Honorable Mention in the 2011 Brookie and D.K. Brown Fiction Contest

His short stories have been included in Daily Science Fiction, H.M.S. Beagle, and Warp and Weave, and his science fiction novella, Let the Mountains Tremble for the Adoni have Fallen, was published in October by Peculiar Press. Poetry by Peck has appeared in Bellowing Ark, Dialogue, Glyphs III, Irreantum, Pedestal Magazine, Red Rock Review, Tales of the Talisman, Victorian Violet Press, and Wilderness Interface Zone. A chapbook of Peck's poetry, Flyfishing in Middle Earth, was published by the American Tolkien Society. A selection of his poetry was included in the anthology, Fire in the Pasture. Peck was selected as the second-place winner in the 2011 Eugene England Memorial Essay Contest.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 63 customer reviews
This is a book that definitely stays with you after you finish reading it.
V. Cano
This book was recommended on the Writing Excuses podcast and, after reading the first pages, I decided to give it a try.
The Bard
I also loved how there was a way to get out of hell, which I truly believe is possible.
pawswright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By S. Waters on August 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have never been so moved by a view of hell. Peck's hell is no brimstone, fire, and burnings - a view that has never been meaningful to me nor one that has instilled any fear in me. In contrast, Peck's hell does both of those things. This view of hell appears, at first blush, as an almost pleasant place where the inhabitant has a well-defined and seemingly manageable task after which she is allowed to move on - hence the title, "A Short Stay in Hell." And yet, this hell produced in me a frozen hopelessness that I could not shake even weeks after finishing the book. I fear this hell. I fear it with my whole being. Maybe it was because of the initial sense of the task's manageability that I ultimately felt such a deep sense of despair. This is story telling at its finest. This is fiction that penetrates to the core.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tracy McKay on January 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Want a short afternoon read that stays with you forever? This book is it. You'll find yourself ruminating on Peck's version of hell for days and even weeks later, and how that might apply to your life. I really hope a studio options this book- I'd love to see it done in the style and care of, perhaps, "Inception".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By V. Cano on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a book that definitely stays with you after you finish reading it. I closed it last night and this morning it was still haunting me, poking me in the side for me to think about it just a bit more.
It's not an easy one to classify. It's fiction, sure, but there's a bit of satire, a bit of philosophy, a bit of horror, a bit of everything, really. The writing is sparse and careful, setting the mood as well as the descriptions do. For me, it was a pretty claustrophobic read. Since the book takes place only in this version of hell that the author has created for us, with unending stacks of books and almost infinite corridors and floors, there is an oppressive atmosphere to the story. The reader begins to feel trapped. Quite scary and therefore, effectively done.
The book will provoke you to ask yourself questions about life, about theology and what it means to believe in our heavens and hells, so this is not a light read, although it is a short novel. I can recommend this easily, since I enjoyed it very much. Once you start it, it's a tough one to put down.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By the narrator on October 27, 2012
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This is one of the most entertaining, thought-provoking, and nightmarish novels I have read in years. It surpasses Chuck Palahniuk's 'Damned' in every way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Spackman on December 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Chilling, which is pretty impressive for a book that takes place almost entirely in a library. A few awkward sentences don't cause significant harm to this disturbingly fascinating tale.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hawley on February 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Do you enjoy large numbers? Do you wish to break your brain? Do you throw words like "forever," "eternal," and "infinite" around like candy? READ THIS.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By PLG on December 26, 2012
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Wow, what a book. After just a few pages in, you get hooked. It's a great thriller, especially for a faithful Mormon working from a set of very fixed beliefs. This book is short enough to want to read again soon, but long enough to provide a great descriptive novella. Well written!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader on March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading several far too tedious (yet inexplicably bestseller) novels for my book discussion group, I was getting burned out on reading period. I purchased this book on a whim, with hope that it would be so different and intriguing that it would restore my faith in modern writers.

I am not disappointed. A Short Stay in Hell is a mind-game. You may begin it with the thought that you're getting a wry, darkly amusing anecdote about how things seldom turn out the way we expect, but then the story takes a turn toward looking at human nature, society, religion, love, cruelty...all while the narrator keeps a streak of dark, dry humor and a touch of carefully cultivated detachment and jadedness that don't quite sit as comfortably on the narrator as he'd like us to believe. The guy's in Hell, both literally and figuratively, and it's not just that he didn't think HE would ever be there, but it's not anything like WHAT he had ever imagined. And hell lingers. In this case, it lingers in your own mind as you find yourself pondering the story days and weeks later.

It's the most engaging -- and bizarre -- story I've read lately, and I look forward to more work from this author. That it was only $2.99 for the e-book factored in my decision to buy it, but the author is underselling himself. It's well worth the regular Kindle edition price.

If you're a fan of Night Gallery, Hitchcock, or The Twilight Zone, you probably will enjoy this novella.
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